Britain's Prince Philip was lambasted today as a "daft old man" who should withdraw from public life after he added to a long string of gaffes with an insulting joke about Indians.

The Mirror tabloid said the prince, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, should "stop making public appearances and retire to the hunting, shooting and fishing set where his racist, sexist views would be better received."

The Greek-born prince's latest slip of the tongue came on Tuesday as he toured a high-tech company near Edinburgh, Scotland, and noticed a poorly wired fuse box. "It looks as though it was put in by an Indian," he remarked to the factory manager.

The prince, who is also the Duke of Edinburgh, is legendary for putting both feet in his mouth with remarks that have managed to offend the deaf, Hungarians, Chinese and Scots, among others.

Buckingham Palace issued a rare apology for his latest indiscretion, but that did little to appease Indians, racism watchdogs and editorial writers.

"There's something basically wrong with the family who live up The Mall," the site of Buckingham Palace, the Sun tabloid said. "It would be hard to think of a remark more likely to offend one of the most hard-working sections of our community. But what would the freeloading prince know about work?"

The Mirror said Philip's remarks showed him to be "an insensitive and insulting person who doesn't seem to care what he says or whom he upsets."

"Other families have daft old men who are a constant source of embarrassment," it said. "But his more recent antics go beyond a laugh."

CAPTION: During a tour of a Scottish firm, Prince Philip cracked an insulting joke about Indians.